Exclusive: James Franco To Direct 'American Tabloid'

Franco reveals to MTV News he'll next star in and direct adaptation of James Ellroy's classic thriller.

James Franco travels to "Oz" later in 2013, but he hasn't forgotten his "American" roots.

The actor, writer, filmmaker, musician and more was at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this week to support a trio of sexually charged movies — including "Interior. Leather Bar.," described by Franco as "for all the '50 Shades of Grey' fans," and described by Film.com reviewer Amanda Mae Meyncke as "part documentary and part narrative" that reinterprets lost footage from the Al Pacino film "Cruising." MTV News caught up with Franco about his latest endeavor, and got the early word on his next project in the process.

"We're going to do 'American Tabloid' by James Ellroy," Franco revealed to MTV's Josh Horowitz. He added that he'll be involved in the adaptation as both the star and director. "It's not all put together yet," he cautioned. "It's still early. You're getting the scoop."

Based on a 1995 novel of the same name, "American Tabloid" follows five years in the lives of law enforcement officers Pete Bondurant, Kemper Boyd and Ward Littell from 1958 through 1963. Each of their stories comes to a head as they're drawn into the assassination of U.S. president John F. Kennedy.

As Franco himself cautioned, it's early days on "American Tabloid" still. Indeed, it's not even the first time the novel has been looked at for adaptation. Bruce Willis once optioned the rights to produce and star in a miniseries based on the Ellroy thriller; years later, Tom Hanks' Playtone production company attempted the same. It now appears that the ball is in Franco's court — we'll update you with more details as they arrive.

The 2013 Sundance Film Festival is officially under way, and the MTV Movies team is on the ground reporting on the hottest stars and the movies everyone will be talking about in the year to come. Keep it locked with MTV Movies for everything there is to know about Sundance.